Last weekend’s Country LakeShake Festival marked Brooks & Dunn’s first performance together outside of their Las Vegas residency in six years. But their Chicago set was just one in a long list of hints that the most awarded duo in country music history have a lot more history to make.
Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn performed together for two decades – selling 30 million albums and racking up dozens of accolades, including 20 CMA awards — before calling it quits in 2010. They went on to pursue solo careers, both releasing albums of their own shortly after their breakup. But in 2014, the former singing partners were at dinner with longtime friend Reba McEntire when the idea arose to tour together. That conversation snowballed into a joint residency at Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace, which began in summer of 2015 and has been extended twice — now running well into 2017. And on top of all this, Dunn enlisted Brooks to sing backup on his brand-new single, “Damn Drunk.”
Broken up or not, Brooks and Dunn are the Energizer bunnies of country music, reinventing themselves year after year, album after album, and easily keeping up with the younger hitmakers on terrestrial radio. So backstage at LakeShake, we asked the secret to their longevity — and the answer was twofold.
“I think it’s 80 percent luck,” Dunn insisted. “We started late, in terms of age, and to have it keep going. . . There is no secret. Lightning’s gonna strike if you’re there.”
“Both of us are pretty stubborn, too,” added Brooks. “We never really celebrated. We were blessed with successes along the way, but from Number Ones to awards shows we never sat around and went, ‘Wow, we did it!’ It made us nervous, like, ‘We gotta get to work here!'”
Adds Dunn, “You win an award and you’re like, ‘We got away with that! Now let’s get outta here!'”
Get dates and ticket information for Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas here.